I used to speak of love 

I used to speak of love

When love didn’t speak of me

The times he’d never call

I waited patiently. 

A single ring would sting: 

The shattering of dreams. 

I used to speak of love

When love didn’t speak of me

The endless scrolling of my phone

To see where he could be.

For every smile that I bring:  

A mask for Agony.

But now I see that love

Comes at slower speeds 

The current never rocks the boat 

And keeps me on my feet.

To fly so high with stronger wings: 

I’m happily set free. 

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How I Outline My Stories

Outlines play a moderately critical role in the writing process for me. I like to begin a story with a blank page and just start writing what’s in my head. Then when I feel like I’ve found a storyline that’s worth running with, I’ll begin my outline. 

I’m not a strict planner when it comes to storytelling. I only outline a few chapters at a time because I know that I have the tendency to stumble upon new ideas organically as I’m writing. I don’t worry too much about organization or abiding by the outline like it’s canon. I like to let the story flow freely and getting lost in my own words is why I write. Sometimes that means I have to scrap ideas that simply don’t work anymore, even if I initially loved where the story would have gone. I think that’s a positive, though, because as an artist  I try to avoid falling too in love with my ideas. Marriage in the drafting stage is artistically limiting. Don’t get married to your work until your work has committed to you and has assured you that you’re the only writer in its life; that there is no other writer who brings out the best in it like you do. 

Okay, enough of that. Here are some shots of what my outline for A Fantastic Mess of Everything looks like. They’re messy and disorganized, but that’s how I like them. 





If you’re read A Fantastic Mess, you might notice that some things from the outline did not make it into the book (Fran never gets a dog, nor does she drop out of college), but that was originally the plan. Outlines are great tools to to use as guidance when writing, but that’s what they are to me: just helpful guides.

Do you use an outline when you write? How strict are you with it? 

A Funeral For Thoughts.

Please be quiet, sir 

This is a funeral for thoughts. 

Even though, her eyes do know 

And scream, “I kid you not.” 

Leave her alone 

Let her walk home

She cannot take the hurt.

And as you stare

You see that she wears 

Her fifteenth-favorite skirt.

For you, her smile faded 

Her heart now rooms with Sorrow 

So if you must say anything

Just bid her a good ‘morrow. 

For you, she waited days 

And silence was all she got

But your lips, do part their ways 

And whisper, “forget me not.”

Please be quiet, sir 

She can sustain you not. 

Even though, your words do flow 

This is a funeral for thoughts. 

For a Light to Read, “An Exit.”

For a light to read, “An Exit,” 

At the perimeter of a room,

Does it have to shine, a light – 

so bright it beats the moon? 

For a girl to be a lady,

At her foot, a Fool may swoon, 

Does she have to light, a pipe – 

packed tight, she’s stoned ’til noon? 

For a brain to reach potential,

To form its own cocoon, 

Does it need a tasse, a mast –

to outlast the Gate’s harpoon? 

Farewell. 

Farewell to the sea, she rings 

A melancholy note – 

She danced until she became – 

All the words I wrote 

To where entryways 

Of whales, concave 

To where lovers have no souls 

To bottoms of her eyes, there lies 

New worlds made up of gold

Farewell to the sea, I bleed 

Her nightly, helpless cries – 

I listened until she became – 

The tears that fell from skies

To where we slave  

For lonely waves  

To where thoughts do reprimand

‘Til disaster takes us one by one 

Toward beginnings without ends

Farewell to the sea, she be 

Backbeat, as we row –

Bidding us: “sleep tight, alright” 

She calls from down below 

Out yonder, into night we go 

Into the night we go 

Into the night we go 

Out yonder, into night we go

the mess of imperfection.

the sexiness of order

may be appealing to the eyes

organized, and structural

straightforward, no surprise 

but stripped down to its core 

it’s easy, safe, relaxed 

i like my puzzles all fucked up 

a complexity, climaxed

the mess of imperfection 

chaotic, yet endearing 

i like my blues and reds combined 

predictability unhearing 

the answers are all out there

but it’s more fun to guess

limitless, yet limited

a sign of tried conquest 

attempts to fix your puzzle 

to dress you up real nice 

solvable, but as we know

permanency is not your vice 

the ego’s plea, forsaking  

i do it all to win 

but once you’re solved, i’m gonna let  

the mess undress again. 

the Ghost of a good thing, here

i sense the Ghost of a good thing, here–

Who lends its ears,

but has lost the gift of touch–

a privilege for the living–

who never invite the repetitiveness of things 

abandon the Past

the chasing alone is a task–

a long and winding road in singularity–

deemed useless in time 

but what is life and death? 

the Presence lives, unlike a breath– 

Whose heart cannot beat, yet can be felt

let It muster here, forever if It may–

’til time has served to disarray–

’til indecisiveness lends to tears–

’til loneliness begs for the company of–

the Ghost of a good thing, here

Empathy & Twilight Excerpt

“You were trying to do what?!” Principal Hazeltine shouted. She didn’t have to be so loud; there was only four of us in Mr. Holliday’s hobbit-sized office. Mr. Holliday was the school counselor who mostly handled the upper level students. I mean, he didn’t handle anyone, but he dealt with us. He’d only started dealing with me since a year ago when my urge to crime fight descended off the pages of the comic books I liked the draw and into the real world.

 It had been three days since the false alarm shooting, and I had been summoned to Mr. Holiday’s office at the start of first period. When they called my name on the loud speaker, a couple of girls–I’d never bothered to learn their names– in my Government class laughed under their breaths amongst themselves. 

So I was sitting in the hard plastic chair with the metal legs that I’d sat in many times before, and Mr. Holliday was sitting across from me with his hand on his desk, playing with a pencil absentmindedly. His wild hair was especially curly today, I noticed, like he had conditioned it in this new way that made it all luscious and bouncy. I wish there had been an opportune moment to compliment him on this. 

“Daniella?” Principal Hazeltine said, her hands on her hips, awaiting my reply. 

Mr. Isaac stood beside her, leaning against Mr. Holliday’s cluttered bookshelf that was so stacked with books it looked like it would collapse at any minute. 

I looked at Hazeltine, my eyes peaking up at her. It felt like death was calling to me. 

“Well?” she said. 

I cleared my throat. “I was trying to stop the shooter.”

Mr. Isaac exhaled and all this air came out his body like he had monster-sized lungs.

“How were you expecting to stop a person with a gun?” Hazeltine clenched her fists 

I shrugged. “By tackling them when they weren’t looking?” It wasn’t meant to be a question, but that’s how it came out.

“Is everything fine at home?” 

I rolled my eyes. I wouldn’t ever say things were fine at home. I was an orphan. I lived with a bunch of orphan girls. Everything was…tolerable. “Yes,” I said. I wasn’t a good liar, and this moment was no exception. 

“How are your feelings?” Mr. Holliday finally spoke, his head leaning to the side a little bit. He always talked like you were a kid, no matter how old you were. It was surprisingly comforting. 

“My feelings are okay,” I said, and crossed my arms. 

“Are you not being challenged enough academically?” Mr. Isaac said, his bony shoulders making his head look too narrow. “Should we load you up with tougher assignments?”

“Trust me, high school is challenging enough as is,” I said. “I don’t need more homework. Homework isn’t how I want to spend my days.” 

“Well,” Mr. Holliday said to me. I was the kid in the room to him. “How do you want to spend your days?”

“Fighting crime.” 

Mr. Isaac’s eyes widened, then he shook his head.. “Calculus is a far safer assignment for a sixteen-year-old.” 

“I’m calling Miss Rosa.” Hazeltine reached for the landline that was hardly visible on top of Mr. Holliday’s messy desk. It was an endless collection of things he never threw out.

No!” I threw my hands out. I almost knocked the phone out or Hazeltine’s hands, but refrained. “Please, she’ll kill me. I mean, not literally, but she’ll ground me for the rest of my life for this.” 

Hazeltine kept the phone pressed against her ear but didn’t dial a number or anything. After staring me down for several seconds, she set the phone back down on the desk. “Detention. This afternoon. You can explain everything to Miss Rosa yourself. And if you don’t, I will.” 

I nodded. Detention wasn’t so bad. It was just sitting silently in a desk in Mr. De Luca’s history class for an hour. It reminded me of Quiet Time, the designated hour that Miss Amarosa, the woman who used to run the Dresden House (the orphanage I live in) with Miss Rosa before she left because supposedly we all drove her crazy and made her cry all the time, would enforce whenever we would get too rowdy. It happened a lot over the summers. 

When I arrived at Mr. De Luca’s room, there were already a couple of students sitting in desks scattered across the room so no one would talk to each other. And they all watched me, like mute people who had their voices stolen from them. So much was being screamed at me with their eyes, but the words didn’t come out. 

“Daniella Sinclair,” I said in my lowest voice to Mr. De Luca, who sat at his desk with an issue of The New Yorker open in his hands. He nodded and pointed for me to sit in this seat toward the back of the classroom. 

I sat down, and I could feel the boy behind me watching me. 

I peaked behind me to see that it was Wren Wilder, a boy a grade above me who I’d never really spoken to. He and I were the only two people who were seated so closely we were practically neighbors.

Wren never ceased staring at me with his head tilted to the side; his big brown eyes rich with curiosity. A part of me wanted to yell that he could just ask me what I was doing here. It’s clear that that was the motive he was sleeping on. I just glanced at him through the corner of my eye every minute or so. It wasn’t really a warning or an invitation, but more of an awkward acknowledgement that I could see what he was doing. 

“Hey,” he said, softest whisper. Because after at least three minutes of straight staring, a simple greeting in a sing-song voice that was all uphill at the end of his sentences was all he could muster up. 

“Hi.” I raised my brows and nodded.

Wren: “You’re the girl who tackled Cheryl, right?” 

Me: “It was an accident.” 

Wren: “Were you really trying to catch the shooter?” 

Me: “Maybe.” 

Wren: “Why on earth would you do such a thing?”

Me: “I don’t know.” 

Wren squinted his eyes to figure me out. “Are you suicidal?” 

I huffed. “No.”  

“Are you crazy?” 

“How so?”

“Like…” his voice trailed off, and he looked toward the whiteboard, his hands gripping the far end of his tiny desk. “Harley Quinn Crazy.”

“Definitely not.” I turned my head away and opened my binder to pretend to do homework for the remainder of detention. I didn’t think it sustainable to feign an assignment for forty-five minutes, so I took out an Adventures of Empathy digest I’d had since I was a kid. The cover had tears and missing corners and the pages were rusty. It was the digest that I kept in my backpack and took out when I needed to run away.

“My guess is that you’re Harley Quinn Crazy.” 

“I’m not,” I said, nose shoved into the digest. 

“There’s always one weirdo in school that everyone remembers,” Wren said. “Why can’t it be you?”  

“Because that’s abstract.” 

Wren laughed to himself, then leaned forward over his desk so his face was closer to me. “Well, when you drop words like abstract…” 

“Why are you here?” I said, a tad ruder than I meant to be. Obviously I wasn’t trying to be rude at all, but Wren was being super irritating. 

“I like to do stupid things for attention,” Wren said, and he almost sounded disappointed in himself if it wasn’t for the smirk he was trying to hide. “According to Hazeltine, at least.” 

His leg was shaking uncontrollably under his desk. Miss Rosa always told us Dresden girls that shaking your leg like that meant you were iron deficient. I was compelled to tell this to Wren, but didn’t think he would care much. 

“What’s your name?” he asked. 

“Danny.” 

“Is that short for Danielle?” 

“Daniella.” 

Wren smiled, and his face lit up like there was a lightbulb inside of his head that had just gone off. 

The next forty minutes couldn’t go by any slower. 

A Fantastic Mess of Everything, Now Available

Hey friends!

My book A FANTASTIC MESS OF EVERYTHING (originally titled THOROUGHLY UNMODERN here on this blog) is now available for purchase in paperback. You can buy it over at Amazon for $12.99

The Kindle version will be available on Amazon on Monday, August 15. 

Let me know if you buy it. Hope you enjoy!

Best,

Beck